VICE: You have one of the most disgusting jobs I've ever heard of.
Tom O'Sullivan: Well, I work 12-hour shifts for £14,000 a year as an assistant nurse in Kingston Hospital in London.
Right, but where exactly in the hospital do you work?
On the elderly wards. Most of my patients are in their 80s. There are lots of urinary-tract infections and—the worst thing—a huge amount of constipation and bowel problems.
When they get old their bowels stop working and they get all clogged up. We often have to stuff phosphate enemas up their arse until all the shit comes out. Being the assistant, it's my job to clean all the shit up. On a bad day I'm cleaning shit off old peoples' legs and arses 10 times a day.
So you spend the entire day wiping gallons of shit off grandmas and grandpas.
Correct. Most of them are in so much pain they don't really care about the humiliation. The shit is causing them unbelievable agony, so they're dying to get rid of it.
What are the worst and best kinds of shit to work with?
If they do a nice constipated shit there's not much mess to clean up. If they're bleeding internally, it can come out a really dark red and it stinks of rotten blood. That's not cool. But then there's this condition called C. Diff, where antibiotics kill off all the bacteria. That means the shit pours out like half-formed food and it's really sloppy and mucous. That's the worst sort.
What's the absolute worst, most fucking repulsive thing you've seen?
This one old lady had so much impacted feces that she was vomiting shit. It was really fucking horrible. When the relatives came to visit her, we had to tell them that she was just vomiting regular.
I feel sick.
It went on for a couple of days before she died. She knew what was happening as well, so it was really bad. She knew she had a mouthful of shit and it's difficult to know what to say to somebody in that condition. It was probably three or four days that was happening. If something like that comes up again, I'll most likely quit.